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Penguins notebook: Maatta latest to be stricken by injury

| Saturday, April 5, 2014, 8:42 p.m.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Penguins have been hit by another injury.

Rookie defenseman Olli Maatta, a candidate for the Calder Trophy, given annually to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition, was a late scratch Saturday at Minnesota.

Coach Dan Bylsma said after the game that Maatta is “day-to-day” with an upper-body injury. The injury is not believed to be a long-term concern, though it is unknown whether he will play Sunday night in Denver.

Maatta participated in Saturday's morning skate.

He had missed only two games this season, both for rest purposes. Maatta has produced nine goals and 29 points and is a plus-9.

The Penguins are playing without the injured Evgeni Malkin, Joe Vitale, Chris Conner, Jussi Jokinen, Marcel Goc, Kris Letang, Tomas Vokoun and Pascal Dupuis.

Malkin update this week

Bylsma isn't certain Malkin will be in the lineup when the Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 16. Bylsma expects an update on Malkin's foot injury during the next couple of days.

Malkin suffered a hairline fracture two weeks ago against the St. Louis Blues. He played the remainder of the game but was diagnosed with the injury 24 hours later.

The prognosis for Malkin's recovery was three weeks, which would end his regular season but have him in the lineup when the Penguins begin the playoffs.

“It's not really possible to predict at this point,” Bylsma said. “We're looking at the two-week point. It will be looked again by doctors (in the next couple of days).”

Malkin has missed portions of this season because of three injuries.

Other injuries

Jokinen, used at center in recent games because of injuries to centers Malkin, Vitale and Goc, did not play Saturday because of what Bylsma called an upper-body injury.

Jokinen was hit by Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien on Thursday. He missed portions of the game and said the pain he felt didn't just involve him losing his wind.

Vitale also isn't ready to return. The Penguins sent him to Pittsburgh on Friday to be re-evaluated for a “mid-body injury.”

With Vitale and Jokinen out, the Penguins recalled forward Andrew Ebbett from Wilkes-Barre.

Homecoming

Two Penguins defensemen enjoyed homecomings Saturday.

Paul Martin, a game removed from returning to the lineup from a broken hand, and Matt Niskanen are Minnesota natives.

Niskanen reserved about 18 tickets for the game. Martin outdid him, reserving 160 seats for friends and family.

No lacrosse for Sid

A picture of Sidney Crosby in lacrosse gear went viral on Twitter during the Penguins' off-day Friday. It didn't tell the story, though.

“I didn't play lacrosse,” Crosby said. “Just ball hockey. It was a lacrosse net with a hockey ball.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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